Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Q-Line/M-1 Rail testing in preparation for 2017 opening

Literally every other day, I've been updating my readers on transportation projects here in metro Detroit that have a sustainability component.  On Saturday, I wrote about the first carpool lane in Michigan as part of I-75 upgrade.  Monday, I reported Regional Transit Millage on November ballot.  Today, it's Q-Line track in Detroit undergoing testing through the fall.  Take it away WXYZ!

The best news about this project comes from the Detroit News...
“Construction progress continues on schedule,” said Paul Childs, chief operating officer of the M-1 Rail. “Speeder tests will be ongoing over the next few weeks, eventually covering the full 6.6 mile track. It’s one of nearly 1,000 tests we’ll be going through over the course of the project.”
...and the Detroit Free Press.
Officials continue to shoot for early 2017 as the start of passenger operations on the line. M-1 Rail on Monday announced that the track installation is 83% complete, station construction 40% complete, traction power substations to provide power for the system is almost 40% complete, overhead catenary system is at 60%, with 85% of poles installed.
Here's to the Q-Line opening on time!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

'The Martian' and 'Jessica Jones' win Hugo Awards

Today, I present a bonus entertainment entry, a follow up to Rabid Puppies infect 2016 Hugo nominees for movies and television.  From The Verge: Here are the winners of the 2016 Hugo Awards.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
  • The Martian screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott (Scott Free Productions; Kinberg Genre; TSG Entertainment; 20th Century Fox)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron written and directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • Ex Machina written and directed by Alex Garland (Film4; DNA Films; Universal Pictures)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris, directed by George Miller (Village Roadshow Pictures; Kennedy Miller Mitchell; RatPac-Dune Entertainment; Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens written by Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt, directed by J.J. Abrams (Lucasfilm Ltd.; Bad Robot Productions; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
  • Jessica Jones: "AKA Smile" written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer (Marvel Television; ABC Studios; Tall Girls Productions; Netflix)
  • Doctor Who: "Heaven Sent" written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Television)
  • Grimm: "Headache" written by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, directed by Jim Kouf (Universal Television; GK Productions; Hazy Mills Productions; Open 4 Business Productions; NBCUniversal Television Distribution)
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: "The Cutie Map" Parts 1 and 2 written by Scott Sonneborn, M.A. Larson, and Meghan McCarthy, directed by Jayson Thiessen and Jim Miller (DHX Media / Vancouver; Hasbro Studios)
  • Supernatural: "Just My Imagination" written by Jenny Klein, directed by Richard Speight Jr. (Kripke Enterprises; Wonderland Sound and Vision; Warner Bros. Television)
"The Martian" was, as We Hunted the Mammoth said, one of "two nominees who didn’t need [Vox Day's] help to win."  As Lorcan Nagle wrote in a comment, Day was "claiming he won because The Martian got best Dramatic Picture - Long Form and Andy Weir [who wrote the book the movie was based on] got the Campbell (even though Weir was kept off the Campbell shortlist last year by the Puppy campaigns)."  I quite agree with that assessment.  I thought "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was the favorite to win the Hugo, just as I did the Saturn Award for best Science Fiction movie (I was right about the Saturn Award, but I preferred "The Martian."  Therefore, I'm quite happy about the result.

As for "Jessica Jones," I'm not surprised or displeased, either.  It was the only television script nominated for a Nebula Award.
Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation Winner: Mad Max: Fury Road, Written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris

Other nominees:
Ex Machina, Written by Alex Garland
Inside Out, Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original Story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
Jessica Jones: AKA Smile, Teleplay by Scott Reynolds & Melissa Rosenberg; Story by Jamie King & Scott Reynolds
The Martian, Screenplay by Drew Goddard
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Written by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt
The writers preferred "Mad Max: Fury Road," which also would have been a suitable choice, even if it wasn't mine.  For what it's worth, it came in second in the Hugo voting results, while "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" ended up in third.  I guess the literary crowd preferred a movie based on a book.  I can't say I blame them.

Speaking of the voting results, at least this time "Grimm" didn't lose out to "No Award," although "Supernatural" did.  Speaking of which, there were two categories in which no award was given out, Best Related Work and Best Fancast.  The voters decided that none of the nominees produced by the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies slates were acceptable.  Good for them.  Maybe next year, a non-slate candidate will get on the ballot and win.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Regional Transit Millage on November ballot

As I foreshadowed in First carpool lane in Michigan as part of I-75 upgrade, the ballot measure to fund increased regional mass transit that I mentioned at the end of Clawson 4th of July Parade will be on the ballot.
On the bus ride back to the start of the parade, I ran into advocates for the Regional rapid transit plan for Metro Detroit.  The taxes to support the plan will likely be on the November ballot.  Look for me to cover that issue at least once this fall.
The Detroit Metro Times has the story in Welp, it's official: this November you can vote on regional transportation.
On Tuesday clerks of Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties accepted the controversial proposal to fund the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan’s (RTA) Regional Master Transit Plan. This acceptance — which came at the eleventh hour — means voters can now hit the polls this November and weigh in on a plan that aims to tackle many of the region's unaddressed transit issues.

"This is the opportunity Southeast Michigan residents have been waiting for – the opportunity to finally connect Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties," Kelly Rossman-McKinney, a spokesperson for A Coalition for Transit (ACT) said in a statement Tuesday.
The Detroit Free Press has the ballot language in Counties approve regional transit millage language.
A Proposal Authorizing the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan (RTA) to Levy an Assessment

The proposal would authorize the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan (RTA) to levy within Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties a property tax assessment:
  • at a rate of 1.2 mills ($1.20 per $1,000 of taxable value);
  • for 20 years beginning in 2016 and ending in 2035;
  • that may not be increased, renewed, or used for other purposes without direct voter approval; and
  • to be used upon the affirmative vote of an RTA board member from each RTA member jurisdiction for the purpose of construction and operation of a public transportation system connecting Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties, including rapid transit bus routes across county lines, specialized service for senior citizens and people with disabilities, commuter rail, airport express service, and other public transportation purposes permitted by law, consistent with RTA bylaws and subject to the limitations of the Regional Transit Authority Act.
If this new additional assessment is approved and levied, revenue will be disbursed to the RTA. It is estimated that $160,907,285 will be collected in the first year. Should this assessment be approved?
Tom Watkins, President and CEO of the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority, wasted no time endorsing the millage.  Two days after the measure was put on the ballot he wrote OPINION: Get metro area moving: Vote 'yes' on public transit in The Press&Guide of Dearborn.
Every elected official, civic, business, labor and religious leader should be promoting a "yes" vote on Nov. 8 to move Michigan forward by building a much-needed regional transit system.

An investment in mobility in the four-county region (Wayne, Macomb, Oakland and Washtenaw plus the City of Detroit) is an investment in our collective future. The region’s leaders have put forth a proposal to raise tax dollars for a sensible regional transit initiative. It is truly a positive step to see the leadership of Southeast Michigan come together to jump start our region.
This is an opportunity to vote your self-interest and help Michigan catch up with the rest of world by providing a viable public transit system.

Vote YES on Nov. 8.

Help drive our region boldly into the future.
I couldn't have said it any better myself.  May this ballot measure be as successful as Renew for the Zoo, which was renewed overwhelmingly.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Zombies return as 'Fear The Walking Dead' resumes

Yesterday, I told my readers to "Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature, which will feature previews of 'Fear the Walking Dead' and 'The Walking Dead.'  Zombies!"  Just to remind my readers of the events of the first half of the season, I present Fear the Walking Dead: 'Where We Left off in Season 2A' Behind the Scenes.

The cast and creators discuss where the characters were left at the end of last season and how they must now cope with separation and loss as they try to move on.
So, Reuben Blades' character really is dead.  Too bad, he was one of my favorites and was essential to keeping everyone else alive, especially alerting them to the human threats.  That's always important in the world of "The Walking Dead," where the slogan is "Fight the Dead. Fear the Living."

Speaking of which, that looks like it will be the case in Fear the Walking Dead: A Look at the Second Half of Season 2.

The cast and crew of Fear the Walking Dead talk about what fans can look forward to in the second half of Season 2.  Fear the Walking Dead returns Sunday, August 21 at 9/8c.
For my readers that want less talk and more action, here's FEAR THE WALKING DEAD Season 2 Part 2 Trailer.

Official Fear the Walking Dead Season 2 Trailer - 2016 Comic-Con SDCC AMC Series.
I can hardly wait.  Good thing I won't have to.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

First carpool lane in Michigan as part of I-75 upgrade

I have two local transportation stories to share.  One of them is the Regional rapid transit plan for Metro Detroit that I mentioned in Clawson 4th of July Parade.  I plan on reporting that on Monday.  The other is the Massive I-75 construction project underway in Oakland County.  Take it away, WXYZ!

A major construction project on I-75 began Monday in Oakland County and it's going to slow down your morning and evening commute.
WXYZ returned in the afternoon with a reporter on the road in Massive I-75 project underway.

Drivers got a taste of the traffic they will have to face in the upcoming months as I-75 is being altered.
Yes, this is needed so long as the people in Oakland County drive cars and the local public transportation system is so weak, but it's not a solution for a sustainable future without better public transportation including buses and light rail.  As the first video mentioned, it does have something worth celebrating, a car lane.  WOOD-TV mentioned it in MDOT begins 14 year project on I-75 near Detroit:  "The $90.8 million project, which stretches 18 miles, will add a carpool lane (the first in the state), resurface the highway and replace bridges among other things."  That's a small thing, but it is an improvement over the current situation, which does not encourage carpooling.

Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature, which will feature previews of "Fear the Walking Dead" and "The Walking Dead."  Zombies!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Popular entries from the back catalog for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

Last month, I teased that "I have only one more entry left, a look at how entries posted before March 21, 2014 2015 fared last year."  It turned I wasn't ready to do post it until I finished the monthly metas for March and January, the latter of which told my readers to "Stay tuned for the final installment of the annual retrospective tomorrow."  It's tomorrow and also Flashback Friday, the perfect day to fulfill my promise and finish this series.

The highest ranking entry from the back catalog as of March 20, 2016 was Eye spy the gas price rollercoaster about to coast down like a parachute from September 2, 2012, which was in fifth place on the all-time top ten with 1988 page views, 2936 according to the raw counter.  Those numbers were a sign of stagnation compared to  March 20, 2015.
The most read entry for the history of the blog according to the default counter as of March 21, 2015 and still the current number one is Eye spy the gas price rollercoaster about to coast down like a parachute, posted on September 2, 2012 with 1988 page views, which it still has now.  The post currently has 2916 according to the raw counter.  This entry was not among the top 20 for the second year of the blog on March 20, 2013, and not among the default top ten as of March 20, 2014.  It began its rise during the second half of 2014, when gas prices began their long, deep slide from $3.50 to just under $2.00 and a lot of web searches retrieved it as one of the results.  The entry was in the monthly top ten for six months running during that time period, enough to move it from not on the list to the top of the leader board.  Amazing how a change in economic conditions can revive the fortunes of an old post.
Since last year, it gained not a single view according to the default counter and only 20 according to the raw counter while falling four places.  It continued its slide the past five months, finally being displaced by John Oliver on feelings over facts and Colbert on Trumpiness earlier this month, but that's really a story for next year.

Follow over the jump for what happened to the rest of the back catalog last year.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

January 2016's rankings were a mess and other monthly meta

Yesterday, I told my readers to "expect the retrospective series to continue tomorrow withJanuary 2016's stats."  Why?  The same reason I posted the monthly meta for March 2016.
Today, I'm doing something I skipped over in June, when I posted the Monthly meta for April 2016.
I'm skipping over January and March to post April.
It's long past time I got around to posting this month.
Seven months past time, in fact.

January 2016 saw 16,780 page views for 34 posts over 31 days, which had been the second highest in the history of the blog up to that time.   It's now the fifth highest.  Those numbers translate to 541.29 page views per day and 493.53 page views per entry, an increases of 42.3% from the previous January's 11,721 page views, which translated to 378.10 views per day and 366.28 views per post, the latter an increase of 34.7%.

On the other hand, readers left only 19 comments that month (0.61 comments per day and 0.59 comments per post), a low for the year so far, and no entry received more than two comments, so no most commented on post was recognized.

There was one post that stood out as the most pinned on Pinterest during January, "Three Star Wars trailers: movie, television, and video game" with 2 saves.

Follow over the jump for the most viewed entries, which were, as the title says, a mess in terms of rankings.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

July 2016 hottest month on record yet

New Scientist has the summary in July was the hottest month in history.

NASA's records show that Earth's temperature was hotter than it has been since measurements began.
USA Today has more details.
July was 1.51 degrees higher than average. The previous record-holder for hottest month was July 2011.

July's record-breaking heat follows a wave of shattered records this year — the first six months of the year have been the warmest half-year on record.
Phil Plait at Slate noted how long the record-breaking streak has gone on, writing "For the sixth seventh eighth ninth 10th month in a row, we’ve had a month that has broken the global high temperature record."  As my readers can see, the streak has continued since April.

USA Today reported records for the U.S., too.
July was yet another hotter-than-average month across the U.S., and folks in New Mexico and Florida were really feeling the heat.

Both states had their hottest July on record, and overall, it was Florida's second-hottest month ever. The Sunshine State's all-time hottest month was June 1998.

With a nationwide average temperature of 75.3 degrees, July was the USA's 14th-warmest July on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
For the year to date, the nation is seeing its third-warmest year on record. Every state is warmer-than-average so far this year, with Alaska record warm.
Yesterday, I wrote that I'd post another retrospective unless I got distracted by a shiny object.  I must say this is quite the shiny object!  That written, expect the retrospective series to continue tomorrow with January 2016's stats.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Best March ever and other monthly meta for March 2016

Yesterday, I posted the monthly meta for July 2016.  Today, I'm doing something I skipped over in June, when I posted the Monthly meta for April 2016.
I'm skipping over January and March to post April.  Why?  Because it was the most complete draft available.  Hey, sometimes I'm lazy.
It's long past time I got around to posting this month.

March 2016 was the best March ever for readership with 13,441 total page views, more than the previous year's 13,194.  I was able to do this while posting fewer entries, 41 this year to 43 last year, resulting in an increase of page views per day from 425.61 to 433.58 and page views per post from 306.84 to 327.83.  On the other hand, comments were down from February 2016's 36 to only 24.  That worked out to 0.77 comments per day and 0.59 comments per entry.  Since no entry had more than two comments and eleven entries had two, I am not singling out any entry from most commented on during March.

I am still recognizing the most liked entries on social media other than Facebook.   On Google+, the most liked last month was "Sanders, Rubio, and Kasich campaign in Michigan" posted March 3, 2016, which earned 15 pluses through being shared on the Sanders communities.  It also earned 1 comment and 121 page views.  On Pinterest, that honor went to "Final 'Star Wars VII' trailer and reaction" with 8 saves and 4 likes last month, as I mentioned in Comments and likes for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

Follow over the jump for the most read entries of March 2016.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Most page views ever and other monthly meta for July 2016

It's not Throwback Thursday or Flashback Friday, but it is halfway through the month, which means I'm overdue for a retrospective of last month and what a month it was!  July 2016 was the best month in the history of the blog for readership so far with 22,776 page views.  That was nearly 300 more than the previous record month, October 2015 with 22,491.  Of those, 5892 came from Russia, 3621 in the last week of the month, nearly four times the 973 from the U.S., which had 11,226 for the month.  I was not alone in getting a lot of page views from Russia; Infidel753 noted it first and a lot of his readers who also keep blogs reported it, too.  The Russians have since stopped their intensive scrutiny.

The blog also earned 39 comments last month.  Per day and per post, those stats broke down to 734.71 page views per day and 690.18 per post, both records.  There were 1.26 comments per day and 1.18 comments per post, but those weren't close to the records set last October.

Before I share the most read entries, I present "Trump and Putin, a bad bromance," which had the most comments during July with 6 comments and 71 page views, and "Star Wars Drinks for Star Wars Day" from May 4, 2015, which was the most saved on Pinterest with 4 pins during July.

Follow over the jump for the most read entries last month.